Nikki Haley alleged she was set up by Democratic ‘plant’ after being asked what caused the Civil War


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Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who is facing backlash over her response to a question about the Civil War at a New Hampshire campaign event, alleged without evidence Thursday that that the questioner was potentially a Democratic “plant.”

“We know when they’re there. We know what they’re doing,” Haley said during an interview with the radio show The Pulse of NH.

Haley was asked what caused the Civil War by an attendee at a Berlin, New Hampshire, town hall Wednesday night. The former South Carolina governor subsequently drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for her response that left out any mention of slavery.

“I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how the government was going to run. The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,” Haley answered at the event. She tried to turn the question back to the attendee, who said he would rather hear her answer.

The former governor walked back her answer the morning after the town hall, saying in the local radio interview that “of course the Civil War was about slavery.”

“We know that. That’s the easy part of it. What I was saying was, what does it mean to us today? What it means to us today is about freedom,” Haley said Thursday.

“Yes, I know it was about slavery,” she added. “I’m from the South, of course, you know it’s about slavery.”

Along with defending her answer, Haley also pointed blame at the man behind the question, accusing him of working for the opposing major political party.

“(He) was definitely a Democrat plant. That’s why I said ‘What does it mean to you?’ And if you notice, he didn’t answer anything,” Haley said. “We see these guys when they come in, we know what they’re doing.”

USA TODAY has not independently verified the questioner’s identity.

President Joe Biden did respond to Haley’s comments Thursday morning, simply sharing in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, “It was about slavery.”

And a spokesperson for fellow GOP presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called Haley’s interview comments an “Embarrassing cleanup attempt” in a post on X.

“Even if that is true…If she can’t handle a question as basic as the cause of the Civil War, what does she think is going to happen to her in a general election. The Democrats would eat her lunch,” Andrew Romeo wrote Thursday.

Nikki Haley alleged she was set up by Democratic ‘plant’ after being asked what caused the Civil War

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